Photo Credit: lev radin/Shutterstock
Ellie Kemper issued a lengthy apology on social media this week in the wake of photos emerging in reference to her participation in a debutante ball with a racist history.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt star trended online last week when fans discovered that she'd been crowned the "Queen of Love and Beauty" at the Veiled Prophet Ball in 1999 in her hometown of Missouri. The event, dubbed as such because it's presided over by a “veiled prophet” wearing a Klan-like hood, came about 140 years ago. Originally, it was meant to bring together the city’s white business elite and highlight their economic and racial power.
The organization insisted in a statement to E! News
last week that they are "dedicated to civic progress, economic contributions and charitable causes in St. Louis. Our organization believes in and promotes inclusion, diversity, and equality for this region. We absolutely reject racism and have never partnered or associated with any organization that harbors these beliefs."
On Monday, Kemper posted a five-part apology explaining her involvement in the ball at 19 and lambasted it for being "unquestionably racist, sexist, and elitist."
"I was not aware of this history at the time, but ignorance is no excuse. I was old enough to have educated myself before getting involved," she wrote to fans. "I unequivocally deplore, denounce, and reject white supremacy. At the same time, I acknowledge that because of my race and my privilege, I am the beneficiary of a system that has dispensed unequal justice and unequal rewards."
She went on to say that she believes "strongly in the values of kindness, integrity, and inclusiveness" and that she tries to "live my life in accordance with these values."
"If my experience is an indication that organizations and institutions with pasts that fall short of these beliefs should be held to account, then I have to see this experience in a positive light," she said, before apologizing to "the people I’ve disappointed."
She also promised she'd "listen, continue to educate myself, and use my privilege in support of the better society I think we’re capable of becoming."
In response to the actress' apology, her Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
co-star, Tituss Burgess reposted her message with a note of support:
"I love my Ellie [heart emoji]. Oh, & P.S. Next time, just ask me, I'll tell ya what to do [smiling face with three hearts emoji]."